Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hospitality in the Gulf

When we traveled to the Gulf to teach English, we didn't know what else we would be asked to do.  When we arrived there, our contact told us to meet people, get invited to their homes, and go do life with them.  When you are new at this kind of thing, this is no small task.  We are not exactly the social types, if you know what I mean. 

I know in the Qaran, Mohammed told Muslims to take care of the wayfarers, the sons of the road, the foreigners.  I guess they take their book seriously, because just about everyone we met would invite us to their homes.  It was much easier than we thought it would be. 

We were never invited without food being involved, and usually it involved multiple courses such as dates and coffee, juice, fruit, rice and chicken or meat, dessert, chai, and of course Mountain Dew.  The Gulf Arabs are the most hospitable people I have ever met. 

Would any Americans you know do the same for a Muslim visiting here?  Maybe we shouldn't because they might be terrorists or they might try to convert us to Islam.  Or maybe Jesus wouldn't have eaten with lost people like them.  He would have probably told them to go back where they came from and leave him and his country alone.  Don't you think so?

People in the Gulf love to visit with family, friends, and foreigners.  They want to know all about America and our lives here.  This was a great opportunity to be salt and light.  We loved on their children of which they have many, and listened to anything they wanted to talk about, including Islam and the Qaran, thus earning the right to be heard.  If you ask enough questions and really listen to people's answers, they eventually began to trust you, and are willing to ask questions of you and really listen to your answers as well. 

Is this a strange custom found only with Muslims in the Gulf, or are people everywhere the same?  Could we use these sneaky, underhanded methods to witness to our neighbors in America?  If we really became friends with lost people, and really listened to them and cared about them and their families,  would it earn us the right to be heard when we want to tell them about Jesus?

I think it would be worth a try.  People everywhere have many of the same needs.  They all need someone that cares about them and they all need Jesus.  Maybe we should go out and get an invite into someone's home and just do something crazy!  It might mean we could change our communities in a positive way. 

Just remember, like in the Gulf, preaching gets you sent home, but being a friend gets you an invite and lots of rice and goat.  Yum!

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